The Essence of Pro Bono

PBI’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project released its annual Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge Report®, which examines the pro bono activities of Challenge signatories.

We’ve previously shared highlights and written about attorney pro bono participation rates and law firm charitable giving. Another takeaway from 2016 is the percentage of total pro bono time devoted to those of limited means and the organizations that serve them. The Challenge asks firms to devote “a majority” of their pro bono time  “to persons of limited means or to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons limited means” (Principal 3). In 2016, 69.1 percent of all pro bono time was devoted to those of limited means and the organizations that serve them. Again this year, we are pleased that this important Challenge goal is being met. Furthermore, this data helps expose as myth any perception that large law firms are not adequately supporting legal aid programs and that they should do more before additional resources and other funding streams, particularly public ones, are tapped.

Check out the complete Challenge Report, including analysis of the data, detailed graphs, and more. And, tune in to the Law Firm Project’s discussion of the Report in Pro Bono: Beyond the Numbers , a recent episode of its podcast: the Pro Bono Happy Hour.

If your firm of 50 or more lawyers would like to join the Challenge and become visible pro bono leaders, please contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Elysse DeRita.